“We need the other women in our tribe… When women affirm other women, it unlocks our power. It gives us permission to shine brighter.”           – Elaine Welteroth, More Than Enough (A Black woman who be knowing)

Hey Y’all Hey! (In my most excited, Black Girl Magic voice I can muster

It’s been a minute. Life has drastically changed and that has also impacted this platform. I wanna get back to the podcasts ASAP but right now I just wanna make sure all my people are healthy and maintaining. In the meantime, we seem to have forgotten that it’s still Women’s History Month (clap it up, clap it up) and Spring is here! 

I’m just gonna come right out and say it… “CORONAVIRUS, SHIT IS REAL!” (in my Cardi voice) But seriously, about two weeks ago, people were beginning to work remotely after they were told that COVID-19 was coming. Some people on social media were celebrating based on their inaccurate translation, as some people heard, “Now, I ain’t gotta work.” There was still an air of skepticism two weeks ago: the whole, “this ain’t that bad” and “I’m not gonna change my life for the flu.” Again, things were so different two weeks ago.

On the plus side, the “Rona virus memes are hilarious, especially the ones about parents homeschooling their children. As a parent, I’m definitely using the Carl Winslow Method with my son: 

3-2-1

1-2-3

What the heck is bothering me? 

The best part of the weekend was not only DNice’s day party– shout out to everyone who was at #ClubQuarantine– but the fact that we can all really use social media to connect and that music really does feed the spirit. (Hallelujah!)

However, I think we do need to examine what is going on in our world right now. We gotta get an Unsolved Mysteries reboot to happen because I am wondering who the fuck told everybody to stock up on toilet paper and be inconsiderate to their neighbors? These videos of folks taking 3-4 packs of 24 rolls of tissue is not only dumb as hell; it’s frightening. 

At this point, I refuse to go to BJ’s, Walmart and any major food chain cause I’m not sure how I’ll react if a motherfucker tackle me for some Charmin. I’m either going to jail or my tombstone will read, “Here lies a woman who refused to have a dirty ass one more day.” Either way, this virus is getting scarier than that new Candyman trailer and to be honest, it’s difficult to remain hopeful. 

Whole aisles in stores are empty, parks are empty, and up until last week, when I was still commuting to work, the buses and trains might as well have been out of service. Simply put, the shit is depressing and we need to consider how people are doing emotionally at this time. When things were starting to look bleak and my mind started to drift into that space that’s as negative as a Love and Hip Hop Reunion Special, I realized one indisputable fact:

BLACK WOMEN GOT MY BACK, FRONT AND SIDES!

Case in point: Like many of you, I was excited when I heard that Netflix was dropping Self-Made based on the life of THE. MADAM. CJ. WALKER. Mmmkay. We needed to see a real self-made woman (yes that is an extra long side eye to Kylie Jenner and anyone even thinking that she has earned that title.)

I immediately thought of the Black Excellence crew and how we could have some Black joy together during this time. As much as people keep saying you have to practice social distancing, I found that term to be a little inaccurate for how I was trying to live my life. And as I was feeling a sense of “this ain’t right” every time I heard that phrase, one of my FB friends posted something so healing and necessary which said:

PRACTICE PHYSICAL DISTANCING

AND SOCIAL SOLIDARITY

So mad I didn’t think of that shit first but I’m not a hater. Anyway, we decided to do a revised Netflix party (because people don’t be having time to do all that techy shit especially after Day 1 of working from home.) We watched the entire series together and gave all of our Black girl responses in a group chat.

Honestly, it was waaayyy better than any movie night at the theater. We could respond in real time without worrying about getting shushed cause everybody knows that you don’t shush a Black woman. The GIFs were on point and there were LOLs and “Awww hell nahs” all in our chat throughout the viewing.

Here are some of our takeaways without spoiling anything:

  1. Our stories are powerful and the story is just as, if not more, important as the product you’re selling.- Khalya
  2. “Aint nothing a colored woman can’t do when she set her mind to it.” Thanks Melida for writing that quote directly from the movie in the chat.
  3. “Damn! Blair ‘In My Underwear’ Underwood.” Thanks Kristina. He’s still fine AF although he needs to stop playing the role of a shitty husband.
  4. “Y’all ready to make our own product?” Thank you Cynthia for getting us inspired. We’ll update y’all if we come up with something to put your coins behind.
  5. “Hair can be freedom or bondage!” (Drop the gems, Madam!)
  6. You only had one job! (For those of you who watched, we talking about Walker’s dumb ass son-in-law)
  7. Male fragility is real.
  8. Everyone’s hair was looking healthy and lush in the later scenes. A room full of Black women is a beautiful thing.
  9. “Go ahead Diego and chase Dora!” Thanks Felicia for adding that piece of humor during an ‘Awww hell nah’ moment. These dudes be trippin’.
  10. “Female enterprise is good for us all!” (Preach Madam, Preach) #WeBeenSecuringTheBag

Finally, as I stated earlier, Black women always got each other’s backs, fronts and sides. Sometimes that means we gotta roll up our sleeves and do some hair and sometimes we gotta hold each other accountable and let each other know not to sell out.

This series was so needed although there are some reviews that have thrown shade stating that there are inaccuracies (hence the words, “based on” her life). Another criticism that I’ve heard on social media revolves around issues of colorism and stereotypical tropes. I absolutely think there should be spaces to unpack and educate one another around some of the events that may have been misrepresented or stretched in the film but that doesn’t take away from its importance.

Black folks, especially Black women, need to see our stories, our entrepreneurial spirit and know-how, our vision, agency and more importantly, our success. We are game changers, creators and influencers and that is ancestral wisdom.

Needless to say, I found the series to be meaningful but that experience was that much more meaningful because I got to chat it up with Black women I respect, value and love. Thank you Black Excellence! This post is for you.

Drop your comments with your reaction to the series, Self-Made, how you are supporting other Black women during this time and how you are staying well.

Cause in a Corona kind of world, I’m glad I got my girls! (90s folks will get it.)

Black women be supporting Black women’s herstories.

Black women be sisterhooding.

Black women be finding joy in the time of ‘Rona.

And if you don’t know, now you be knowing.

Join the Conversation

6 Comments

Leave a Reply to Cynthia Gillespie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Awe this was cute… I like the series… but I wish the struggle of us wasn’t so rooted in fighting our family and friends. Sigh, but such is life…. keep bringing joy to each other’s world black excellence crew! Smooches!

  2. “My homegirls standing to my left to my right…true blue we’re stuck like glue cause we’re living….”
    Watching the film in true Black Excellence formation was a beautiful testimony to the power of Black Sisterhood.. sisterhood is medicine for our souls.
    I was inspired by the film and its message of determination, vision and solidarity. It spoke to the entrepreneur in me….I’ll be using my shut in time to for discovery!

  3. Yesssss! Shoutout to Black Excellence! The love is real.

    During this weird, ambiguous, and often frustrating season the elevation of my spirit always restores me. Like we discussed in episode 7 (shameless plug for my episode!) I think of myself in three parts (for practical reasons 😂): body, mind, and spirit. I’ve gone on walks (6ft away from ppl of course), practiced yoga, and even did a push-up for my body. I meditate and read for my mind. I pray, listen to music, and connect with my girls for my spirit.

    My goal is to care for myself in a holistic way, and to share my successes in self care wit my girls. Like Madam CJ Walker I want to nourish the parts of me that need it and then tell alllllll my girls about it. It’s beautiful that she created abundance from what started out as lack.

    I love you. Stay safe, and we deflee eatin that taco on the beach this year. 2020 ain’t over yet.

  4. Aww man I wish I was there for the group watch on soshmeddia! I really liked the series although I had to put aside the whole European beauty standards thing that kept popping up in my mind whenever she would make her presentation about how Black Women wanted to “appear” in the world by using her product. I liked Spencers performance. She was powerful. Just about everybody killed it. Shout out to Garret Morris! That actor is the bomb. I keep thinking he passed away but then I keep seeing him working and I loved his portrayal of Blair’s dad in this because he provided such an essential link between his experience of marriage while enslaved compared with the marriages emerging from a newly “freed” generation of Blacks. I also though the use of present day rap and hip hp tracks over this period narrative was really connective.

  5. Now why you gotta put a sistah’s “male appreciation” comment out there in the universe!!!!! The convening was awesome and much needed. As for the PLETHORA of criticism that is following this limited series, I am not mad at anyone sharing their point of view or perspective, their disappointment or unfavorable feelings. We all ain’t going to like everything, and that is ok. We are not a monolithic people and therefore everything that is made with us in mind, or for us, will not be appreciated by all of us. I say ALL of that to say, my issue with some of the critiquing is that people seem upset that the narrative that has been perpetuated about Madam CJ Walker does not match the “real her.” I am not mad that she was not perfect; she is in fact HUMAN. That means she is not all good or all bad!! And I am ok with that. Stop expecting our “heroes” to be one way. They are allowed to be great and do terrible shit. We are not the greatest sum of our mistakes, or our triumphs. We are who we are because of it ALL. Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.

%d bloggers like this: